Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Saturday, research suggests the A(H1N1) swine flu virus is so contagious it will probably spread to new, so far unaffected, regions.
Acting WHO assistant director-general Keiji Fukuda said studies by experts indicate a “significant number of people” had been infected but remained undetected or unconfirmed by laboratory tests.
“Their work also suggests that the virus is transmissible enough that we will expect to see continued community level outbreaks and regional spread,” he told a WHO meeting in Geneva on pandemic preparedness.
“It is still reasonable to expect that at this pace, we have a long-term activity going on.... There will probably be periods of intense activity,” said Fukuda.
WHO director-general Margaret Chan noted the virus had “quickly demonstrated its capacity to spread easily from one person to another, to spread widely within an affected country and to spread rapidly to additional countries.”
“We expect this pattern of international spread to continue,” she said.
“This is a time of great uncertainty, and great pressure on governments, ministries of health and WHO,” she added.